Everyone just can't seem to get enough Alcantara.
If you've been inside a high dollar luxury car lately, you've probably noticed a material called Alcantara. The unique synthetic material is made of polyurethane, polyester, and microfibers, giving it increased durability and stain resistance. The suede-like material is becoming increasingly popular on cars, private jets, and even consumer goods such as the Microsoft Surface tablet. Unfortunately, the material has become too popular, and MotorTrend reports that the Italian supplier has been forced to turn down contracts.
This could explain why several Tesla Model 3 owners complained about receiving cloth, rather than Alcantara in their cars. Alcantara Chairman and CEO Andrea Boragno said the company's plant in Milan can only make eight million meters a year, and the company has had to turn away around 20% of new business. The auto industry is a huge reason for the surge in demand, now representing 80% of Alcantara's business. Use of Alcantara in the auto industry has increased by at least 15% per year over the last seven years. In order to meet demand, the company is investing $368 million to double production in the next five years.
During that time, the company is expected to grow from 600 employees to 800, and the brand is expected to triple in value. Perhaps now might be a good time to invest. We loved the look and feel of Alcantara in our review of the Lexus LC500h, while the material also weighs about half as much as leather. This has helped companies like Lamborghini cut up to 11 pounds from its vehicles. Clearly Alcantara isn't just a fad, and we will continue to see it used even more in new cars.